Fearless Freshman: With the tattoo as his inspiration, Wesley never backs down

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They were stunned, rocking on their heels.

And Blake Wesley was absolutely in his element. Silence the residents of Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum.

Riders. Three. Discs. There’s little the Notre Dame freshman sensation can’t do, and seemingly all of his skills were on display last Saturday.

“It’s confidence, boost your confidence for sure,” Wesley said. “I started well, first nine, 10 minutes. I felt after the first hit, the pulling hit. It was fast in the shot clock, but I had a wide open shot and let it go.

“After that, I knew it was going to be a good night for sure.”

Jean-Brice | CIO

Blake Wesley Tattoo

If there had been any doubt, Wesley would have had only to look inside his right forearm. There, an inked cross extends from near his wrist to below his elbow. It only has two words; one on each side, perpendicular to the vertical axis.

“Faith” (over) “Fear”.

“Truly, faith rather than fear; I have a tattoo that says that,” said Wesley, who scored in double digits in 21 of 25 games in his college career and had been inking for just weeks before his college debut. “I fear no one but God. When I got here, I said to myself, ‘Don’t be afraid. Do it.

“It’s like my family and I are talking about God, and my sister (Taylor) helped me with that too. Faith rather than fear only means me. Just faith rather than fear.

Somehow, surprisingly, an increasingly fearless basketball-playing Irish team with six players in at least their fourth year of college – plus newcomer Wesley – is producing near-record good nights . Notre Dame (18-7, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) hosts Boston College (9-14, 4-9 ACC), a team that has just three wins in the past 10 weeks, tonight at the inside the Purcell Pavilion (7, ESPN2/ U).

“I think his spirit is so free and he’s so confident – and maybe he feels that’s his destiny,” ND coach Mike Brey said. “This is a good thing.

“The other guys had to go through the mud a bit to get to different places.”

Wesley didn’t have a golden path, but he added another marker on a golden debut campaign in last Saturday’s burst of 21 points, six rebounds and three assists.

6-foot-5 Wesley had 18 points in the first 10 minutes of the game; he drilled each of his first six shot attempts against the Tigers.

Not in the box score? Wesley’s ability to silence the crowd.

“Yeah, the fan base there was crazy,” he said. “It was ridiculous. They had fans all around (the pitch). It was nasty, but I liked it.

“I like playing on the road more than here (Pavillon Purcell). It is only me. I like to silence crowds and stuff like that. It’s just me, I love it.”

Including tonight’s game, the Irish have six games left; four of those are at home, where Notre Dame is 10-1 this season, and two are shut-ins at Wake Forest (Saturday, 1 p.m.) and Florida State (March 2).

Wesley is in the midst of all the Irish Championship aspirations in the ACC regular season and the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s a really cool dynamic to see,” Brey said of his local star’s unwavering approach. “It’s not like he played on the EYBL Tour, and he wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American. -factor thing – a confidence and swagger.

“He started straight away being able to get places on the floor with the ball that our other guards can’t. I think the guards we have were pissed off and then respected the devil because that could really help us. .”

It could make the Irish party howl, and their ACC competition left to say nothing at all.

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